Fertility and hatchability of Japanese quail eggs under semi arid conditions in Nigeria
Some factors affecting the fertility and hatchability of Japanese quail eggs were studied at the Poultry Unit of the University of Maiduguri Livestock Teaching and Research Farm. A total of 1850 eggs were used for the study and data collected were subjected to Analysis of Variance. The mean values of fertility, hatchability of total and fertile eggs set, early, mid and late embryo mortalities were 74.33, 51.35, 69.09, 10.25, 7.57 and 12.30% respectively. Fertility was highest (84.92%) in the dry cold, least (35.58%) in the dry hot, with wet season (80.75%) being intermediate. Similarly, hatchability of total and fertile eggs set were 67.18 and 79.11% in the dry cold, 14.11 and 39.66% in the dry hot and 46.86 and 58.03% in the wet season. Younger quails (≤ 10 and 11-22 weeks) had higher fertility and hatchability than older ones (23-34 and 35-52 weeks). Early embryo mortality also increased with age. Fertility and hatchability of eggs from caged birds was 89.54 and 62.34% as compared to 54.93 and 37.35% from deep litter reared birds and hatchability of fertile eggs was 69.63 and 67.96% respectively. Fertility and hatchability was highest (92.15 and 71.48%) for birds of ratio 1:3 and least for 1:5 (19.60 and 10%). Breeders that weighed 181-200 g had the highest hatchability (79.22%) and ≤ 140 g the least (60.83%). In contrast, breeder's with weights ≤ 140 g had the highest late embryo mortality (20%) and 141-160 g the least (9.67%). Light brown quails had lower hatchability of total and fertile eggs (23.71% and 35.71%) as compared to wild type or normal colored ones (52.04% and 69.84%). Light brown, however, had higher (P<0.05) early and late embryo mortalities (21.43% and 35.71%) than wild type (10.0% and 11.77%). It can be concluded from this study that for optimum fertility and hatchability, Japanese quail should be reared in cages at a mating ratio of 1:3 male to female.
Keywords: colour, flock age, hatchability, Japanese quail, season